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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

 One of the first things that most people think about when preparing for or thinking about marriage, are the characteristics or qualities of the person they would like to marry. Some people think about how they want their potential husband or wife to look – perhaps they think about such things as hair and skin color. Some men may look for a wife who is an excellent cook, and some women may look for a husband who is very religious.

Many Muslims nowadays look for a wife or husband that is conversant in the Arabic language, or someone that is at least a student of Arabic.

Nonetheless, most people, Muslims included, seem to go to great lengths to make elaborate lists, either on paper or in their minds, about all the things they want or expect from their potential husband or wife. And while this is good and perhaps a very necessary part of the marriage search, few people ever sit down, and with the same purposefulness and care, enumerate their own qualities and characteristics or think about whether they, themselves, are the kind of people that someone else with just as high expectations or ideals would want to marry.

Think outside of yourself for a moment: If you were someone else, would you marry you? I don’t mean you, as you would like to see yourself weeks, months or even years from now. Nor do I mean you as you imagine yourself after you have had a chance to change a few of your bad habits, improve your character, fix yourself up, or you after you begin to practice your religion more seriously. I mean you, as you are TODAY.


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This story touched me… I hope that it has an effect on you too…

“My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students & teachers to support the family. There was this one day during elementary school and my mom came. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I threw her a hateful look and ran out.

The next day at school: “Your mom only has one eye?!?!”…eeeee said a friend. I wished my mom would just disappear from this world. So I said to my mom, “Mom… Why don’t you have the other eye?! If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?!!!”

My mom did not respond. I guess I felt a little bad, but at the same time, it felt good to think that I had said what I’d wanted to say all this time. Maybe it was because my mom hadn’t punished me, but I didn’t think that I had hurt her feelings very badly.

That night, I woke up, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. My mom was crying there, so quietly, as if she was afraid that she might wake me. I took a look at her, and then turned away. Because of the thing I had said to her earlier, there was something pinching at me in the corner of my heart. Even so, I hated my mother who was crying out of her one eye. So I told myself that I would grow up and become successful.

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A series of intimate, 10-minute portraits, explores the lives and beliefs of six young people whose usual places of worship are beautiful and historic mosques across the Muslim world. The films accompany them as they leave their homes and families, follow them as they travel to Saudi Arabia, and share their responses to the culmination of their journey of a lifetime – the pilgrimage to Mecca, where the prophet Muhammed was born.

Within decades of the death of Muhammed, Islam spread fast and its history can be traced through the flowering of exquisite Muslim architecture. Over the next few hundred years, fabulous mosques from Spain to Iran, and from Turkey to Mali formed a focus of Muslim life, as they continue to do today. The Seven Wonders of the Muslim World starts its journey at six of these locations and completes it at the mosque towards which all practising Muslims turn when they pray.

The seven wonders

1. The Grand Mosque in Mecca is the largest mosque in the world. At its centre is the Kaaba, a cubic building covered in a gold-embroidered black cloth towards which Muslims turn as they pray. Every year, millions of people perform the Hajj – the pilgrimage during the 12th month of the Islamic year – and many others make the pilgrimage at other times of year, which is called the Umrah.

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It is one of the most important works ever written. For some billion people worldwide, it is the holy scripture, the word of god and his prophet. For others, it is a historical artifact that has left an indelible imprint on the world. It is the Koran.

SECRETS OF THE KORAN probes the heart of the work that many outside Islam find impenetrable and mysterious. Examine the history of the verses and their implications for modern times, as well as the striking similarities and differences between the Koran and the Bible–and the ways in which Muslims believe the Koran corrects some of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Trace the influence of the Koran from the Golden Age of Islam to the modern rise of jihadism. And hear from top Islamic scholars as they share their insights into the work that lies at the foundation of one of the world’s great religions.

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This three-part series covers more than a thousand years of Islamic history and culture, with emphasis on the contributions that Muslims have made in science, medicine, art, philosophy, learning, and trade.

The first one-hour segment (“The Messenger”) introduces the story of the rise of Islam, and the extraordinary life of the Prophet Muhammad. It covers the revelation of the Qur’an, the persecution suffered by the early Muslims, the first mosques, and then the rapid expansion of Islam.

The second segment (“The Awakening”) examines the growth of Islam into a world civilization. Through trade and learning, the Islamic influence extended further. Muslims made great achievements in architecture, medicine, and science, influencing the intellectual development of the West. This episode also explores the story of the Crusades (including stunning reenactments filmed in Iran), and ends with the invasion of Islamic lands by the Mongols.

The final segment (“The Ottomans”) looks at the dramatic rise and fall of the Ottoman empire.

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SYNOPSIS

Three years in the making and fueled by an unprecedented grassroots funding campaign, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, travels in the footsteps of the prophet to the Arabian desert and the holy city of Mecca where much of Muhammad’s story unfolded. But the film does not just stay in the past. Much of its story is told through the observations of contemporary American Muslims, including a fireman at the World Trade Center on September 11, a second generation Arab-American family building a community based on Islamic principles, a Congressional Chief of Staff working for justice, and a refugee fleeing religious persecution, whose experiences in some way echo Muhammad’s life.

His father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was only six. But sheltered by a powerful uncle, he made a good start in life, established himself in a profitable business and married well. Then, at the age of 40, he was transformed. A man who could not read or write, he announced that he was the prophet of God. His name was Muhammad, and in the next 23 years he would bring peace to the warring pagan tribes of Arabia and establish the religion of Islam, which today has 1.6 billion followers.

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